October 22, 2020

The Enduring Appeal of Dark Hardwood Flooring

 


Dark hardwoods offer a rich depth of color, and add contrast – along with a formal touch – to the décor of your room, especially paired with light-colored walls and furnishings. Unlike lighter hardwoods, deeper-toned options prompt some decision making to assure a harmonious interior, successful color scheme and easy cleaning. If you have your heart set on dark hardwoods, rest assured that these choices remain popular, and that expressing your tastes makes your home a holistic statement of your style.

 

Contrast, harmony and ambience

Remember that all hardwoods darken as they age, so choose dark hardwoods that harmonize with dark cabinetry or furnishings. For example, select flooring that completes the look of red-toned kitchen cabinets or mahogany furniture rather than appearing to clash. Typically, your best options combine dark flooring with light-colored cabinetry and vice versa to set up an attractive contrast. Dark floors also can make a room look smaller and shallower, but strategically placed light-colored area rugs can offset that effect.

 

Maintenance

Dark hardwood floors can require frequent, diligent cleaning efforts to avoid making the slightest speck of dust readily apparent. Their beauty makes them an attractive option in the right setting but be sure you're ready for their upkeep. To offset their high maintenance, select a surface texture that hides dust and puts you right on trend.

 

Hand-scraped surfaces

True hand scraping adds long distinctive marks to the finish and produces planks that look like the unique result of hand crafting. Some hand-scraping techniques rely on machined surfaces that create greater uniformity among planks. Especially in large rooms where repeats can become readily obvious, be sure you obtain the finish you want. The deliberate "flaws" in hand-scraped flooring can help obscure dust that otherwise might be obvious on darker hardwoods.

 

Distressed finishes

Similar in appearance to hand-scraped finishes but with more wear-and-tear details, distressed hardwoods incorporate everything from burns and scrapes to wormholes and knots and can approach the appearance of reclaimed wood. Because distressed flooring looks antique, it may not be the obvious choice for a minimalist room with modernist furnishings. Although this treatment is less obvious on darker wood, the irregularities of its surface texture help mask dust.

 

Wire-brushed textures

This finishing technique involves smaller, more-consistent scratches than hand-scraped or distressed flooring, but it also hides dust well, even on darker colors. The greater subtlety of the technique makes it a better choice for a wider variety of interiors than other options because it enhances wood grain for more visual interest.

 

Satin, matte and piano finishes

When you want a uniform look, especially across a large expanse of flooring, shiny piano finishes can give your hardwoods a sleek appearance, although their strong visual statement has fallen out of the trend spotlight. Unfortunately, you'll need to stay ahead of dusting and care all the more diligently with this type of luxurious sheen, which highlights the slightest bit of dust on a dark wood floor. Unless you really love shiny finishes, look for a low-luster option that fits in with current styles, including satin and matte options.

 

Patterned installations

Herringbone and chevron floors use angled planks to create a patterned appearance. Diagonally installed flooring adds a similar but simpler look with abundant visual interest. The materials for these techniques can carry a higher price tag because of the angled cuts required for proper installation. These options create less of an impact with dark hardwoods because the patterns can be more difficult to see than on lighter floors.

 

Wear and tear

Most dark hardwood flooring consists of lighter-colored wood species treated with stains. Scratches can reveal the unstained color of the wood and make a floor show its age, especially in high-traffic areas and in households with dogs, cats or children. For easy maintenance, look for high-quality materials and finishes with an extra coat of protectant.

 

Dark hardwoods add a polished look to your interiors, can last a century or longer and give you the option of refinishing your floors to update their color and finish. New ways of cutting and finishing woods create new looks that expand your options even further. The natural variation, authentic look and feel of hardwoods can give your interior the foundation it needs for your unique style. To find the right dark hardwoods for your home, ask the design experts at Kermans Flooring to help you find your ideal options. Schedule a complimentary consultation or stop by our showroom to see our lineup of high-quality options.




September 15, 2020

Technology With Style: New Developments in Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring may be a traditional choice, but recent innovations have broadened the range of options beyond classic two-inch light-wood planks. From new species of wood to new materials, colors, textures, finishes and plank sizes, you can select from a wide range of products to suit your décor and budget.




Materials

The National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA) classifies wood flooring into solid, engineered and composite-engineered options. Solid wood is just that: planks cut from a tree. Engineered flooring contains multiple layers of plywood and a thinner top layer of wood, making it less likely than solid wood to expand and contract with temperature and humidity. Some engineered flooring uses tongue-and-groove systems for quick, simple snap-together installation.

Composite-engineered flooring contains wood only on the top surface, with virtually any type of composite material as the backing and core. The thin wood veneer on composite-engineered products may not qualify it as "real wood" for some consumers, but it can offer durability, water resistance and a good feel underfoot. If the top wearable layer is too thin, you'll be unable to sand and refinish the floor more than once, if at all, unlike traditional hardwoods, which you can sand and refinish four to seven times, depending on plank thickness. Additionally, low humidity can cause the top layer of composite-engineered flooring to crack.


Unfinished or prefinished

Traditional wood flooring arrives as unfinished planks, with stains and sealants applied after installation and sanding. The upside of this process is the unified, solid look of the finished floor; the downside, the three or four days of drying time before you can walk on it. Prefinished flooring arrives from the factory fully sanded, stained and sealed, cutting installation time to as little as a single day.

Some prefinished hardwoods include subtly rounded, or beveled, edges that help mask any unevenness in the planks themselves or the installed floor. Because beveling leaves a minuscule gap between planks, however, it may be more likely to attract and retain dust, which may increase the amount of cleaning it requires.
In addition to natural and engineered woods, new environmentally friendly options include bamboo, cork and a composite material called Marmoleum, made from a combination of wood flour, limestone, jute and pigment.




Textures

Today's hardwood flooring surfaces range from the high gloss of a piano finish to the familiar shine of regular sealants and even the low luster of a nearly matte look. In addition to the traditional smoothly sanded, knot-free appearance of solid hardwood, today's choices include a diverse palette of textures that can give your floor a distinctive look. Wire-brushed wood looks weathered but not rustic or unfinished, and hides dirt to make floors easier to keep clean. Hand-scrubbed and hand-scraped finishes add a vintage look that makes each floor truly one of a kind.

Modern surface treatments can add visual interest, but for an even more striking interior, you also can select reclaimed wood, often from old gymnasiums or commercial buildings, and reproductions that give the look of age. Reactive stains quickly oxidize the tannins in wood to make new wood look like old hardwoods, typically using environmentally friendly salts such as iron chloride, also used to purify drinking water.

Traditional hardwood flooring uses knot-free lumber, but new options transform yesterday's flaws into today's design statement. Knots add what's called "character" to hardwood flooring, ranging from knot-free clear boards to light character, all the way up to the knotty appearance of character grade.

Along with creating a customized look with surface treatments and textures, you can choose plank widths that range from traditionally narrow all the way up to 4" or wider. Wider – and longer – planks make a dramatic statement in today's open-plan interiors. Specialized installations can transform your floors with herringbone and chevron patterns or diagonally laid planks.

Today's hardwoods broaden your design palette with materials, colors, textures, finishes and plank sizes to suit any style, room size and décor. For assistance in selecting the right choices to create the look you want, ask the design experts at Kermans Flooring to help you narrow down your options. Schedule a complimentary consultation or come in to see our lineup of hardwoods.



August 20, 2020

Showcase Your Décor With Blonde and Gray Hardwoods

 

Flooring trends come and go, but timeless options come back into style or never go out of favor. That's the case with light-colored hardwoods, which continue to win over homeowners with their ability to make any room look bigger, brighter and more inviting, even in smaller areas or those with lower ceilings. Along with the open feel they add to a room, these lighter-colored woods create a neutral undertone that can handle décor styles from rustic to sleekly contemporary, paint colors from deep to pastel, all with the easy-care ability to cut down on cleaning time. But you'll need to choose your hardwoods with care, as these options can last 50 years or more.

 If your reference point for light-colored flooring harkens back to medium-stained oak – the wood of choice for decades – or the yellowish tones of aging clearcoats, you'll find ample pleasant surprises among today's hardwood choices, although many of them represent new takes on classic styles. Some of these hardwoods redefine light-colored flooring to make a strong statement in a contemporary or transitional interior.
 
Blonde hardwoods can match your tastes, regardless of whether you prefer warm or cool tones. Warmer colors may strike a more-casual, homey tone and cooler colors may invoke modern looks, but you can express your vision in unique ways. Whether you choose European oak or the new-style environmental friendliness of bamboo, you'll find durable, appealing selections in a full spectrum of golden shades. Among light-colored flooring options, blonde hardwoods hide scuff marks, unlike trendy whitewash looks, and don't require as much vigilance to keep clean.
 
Gray flooring reached popularity in the last decade and has held on to its desirable status, providing an enduring choice for cooler good looks. From the bright gleam of light gray to the dignity of darker colors, you can leverage these tones to contrast with dark furniture or set off bright contemporary artwork. The neutrality of these cool shades can showcase dramatic colors or provide a base for an all-gray look. If you're torn between blonde and gray, consider gray-washed blonde hardwoods, or mix the two colors in a herringbone pattern.
 
In addition to flooring color trends that favor blonde and gray, the midpoint between the two combines gray with beige to produce greige, livening up the minimalist look to harmonize with any colors or interior style. Greige offers an ideal option for those who find gray too reminiscent of cement and want to add a more natural look to their floors. Like blonde hardwoods, greige runs the gamut from cooler to warmer tones.
 
Some interior designers prefer hardwoods that look more like the natural shades of raw wood. To achieve these looks, start with woods that come close to the final shade you want to achieve, and visualize finish as a stylish accent rather than just the combination of stain and sealant. From "piano" finishes with the high-gloss gleam of a classic baby grand to hand-scraped textures that add the look of artisanal flooring, you can find a wide variety of surfaces, including flat and matte. If the worn-in beauty of scraped textures appeals to you, remember that unlike hand processing, automated scraping produces recognizable, repeated patterning that may not convey the authentic look you want to achieve.
 
Hardwoods add lasting beauty that can anchor your interiors with the gleam of natural materials, and with a wide choice of plank widths from narrow to broad, you can achieve your unique style. To realize your vision, ask the design experts at Kermans Flooring to help you decide which options match your tastes. Schedule a complimentary consultation or stop by to see our lineup of hardwoods.

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